NFL.com held its experts league auction mock draft of the year on Friday, July 26th. The standard scoring league consists of NFL Fantasy LIVE members Michael Fabiano, Elliot Harrison, Jason Smith, Akbar Gbajabiamila, Molly Qerim and Dave Dameshek. Also in the league are NFL.com fantasy editor Marcas Grant, associate fantasy editor John Juhasz, researcher Bill Sudell and fantasy product manager Evan Singer. Each owner was required to put together a lineup of one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one flex (RB/WR/TE), one tight end, one kicker and one defense/special teams unit.
My auction strategy is almost always the same - make sure to land at least one elite running back and one elite wide receiver (with a total of five players at each position). I also tend to let everyone else spend their dollars earlier in the draft - that's when people tend to panic and over spend. That leaves me with the potential to end up with a ton of potential bargains for $1-$2 at the final stages of the draft.Did your auction strategy work?
For the most part, yes. I built a strong starting lineup with a pair of top-12 players at both running back (Rice, Jones-Drew) and wideout (Johnson, Cobb)> also nabbing the great risk-reward named Gronk for $15 - that's about half (or more) of what he would have been if he were a lock to be available for Week 1. If he comes back and is the touchdown scoring, mad spiking tight end we all know and love, well, that's a major bargain. I was also able to land some decent $1 bargains.
What was your favorite pick(s)?
I like getting Jones-Drew and Johnson for under $25 a piece, and Gronkowski could end up being a steal in a best-case scenario. I paid for Rice and Cobb, but you're always going to pay for the elite backs and wideouts. Wilson, who I landed for $12, could make for a nice value pick as well. I was also happy to land Steve Johnson, Denarius Moore, Miles Austin and Bryce Brown at a bargain-basement price.
What pick(s) do you most regret?
This one isn't even close - Brady. I paid way too much for him because I was trying to drive up the price. Sometimes when you do that, you end up getting stuck with the player. Do I like Brady? Sure, I'm not overly concerned about his lack of receivers. But when you see how much other quarterback went for at the end of the auction, well, I was kicking myself for driving up Brady and getting stuck with the tag.
Who drafted the best team?
I really like what Molly did with her team - she has a legitimately elite player at every position. While her bench isn't very deep, her starting lineup is one to be reckoned with - especially if the duo of McFadden and Britt can do the sort of statistical damage they're capable of doing - remember, each of them is in a contract year.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!